Noche UFC Odds, Pick & Prediction for Alexa Grasso vs. Valentina Shevchenko: 2 Bets for Main Event (Saturday, September 16)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: UFC women’s flyweight champion Alexa Grasso of Mexico
Alexa Grasso vs. Valentina Shevchenko Odds
On Saturday the UFC returns to T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for Noche UFC, which is headlined by a women's flyweight title bout between current champion Alexa Grasso and former titleholder Valentina Shevchenko.
Earlier this year, Grasso captured flyweight gold at UFC 285, submitting Shevchenko via rear-naked choke in the fourth round of their title bout, cashing a +2600 winning-method prop.
In that first fight, Grasso's moneyline closed as high as +750 (11.8% implied) before the opening bell and returned to that number in the live markets after trailing 29-28 on all scorecards after three rounds.
Shevchenko enters her 11th title fight in her past 12 bouts on Saturday and hopes to avenge the only loss of her flyweight career after looming over the 125-pound division since 2018.
Grasso entered her third consecutive five-round bout and appeared to have the cardio edge in the first fight. She'll hope to prove that her March upset was no fluke as the headliner on this UFC card built to showcase Mexican fighters.
Below, I'll provide my analysis and projections for Saturday's Noche UFC ("UFC Night") main event rematch between champ Alexa Grasso and Valentina Shevchenko (10 p.m. ET main card, ESPN+) and utilize those factors to bet on these flyweights, who should make their cage walks at approximately 11:55 p.m. ET.
Tale of the Tape
|Avg. Fight Time||14:12||17:29|
|Weight||124.5 pounds||124.5 pounds|
|Reach||66 inches||66 inches|
|Date of birth||8/9/1993||3/7/1988|
|Sig Strikes Per Minute||4.88||3.29|
|SS Absorbed Per Minute||4.07||1.99|
|Take Down Average||0.38||2.57|
Shevchenko closed around a -670 consensus favorite (87% implied) in her split decision win over Talia Santos at UFC 275 and at -900 (90% implied) in her loss to Grasso. She never came close to covering her pricetag in either fight.
At age 35 – five years older than the flyweight average – the former champion and two-division title challenger may be slowing and showing signs of physical regression, which first popped up when she surprisingly lost a clear round to Jennifer Maia at UFC 255 in November 2020 (as a -2500 favorite).
The striking exchanges in Grasso-Shevchenko I were highly competitive, if not won outright, by Grasso, who showed faster and more powerful hands and landed cleaner combinations in extended exchanges.
Grasso had a lot of success crashing the pocket, getting inside Shevchenko's kicking range, and eating one punch to land two.
Grasso's constant stance-switching proved problematic for southpaw Shevchenko, who spammed her body kick with Grasso standing orthodox but struggled to find answers against a mirrored stance.
Shevchenko had her best minutes in this fight after shooting reactive takedowns and consolidating top position (completed four of six attempts, 5:24 control time). Grasso has shown subpar takedown defense (61%) throughout her career but has worked to improve her defensive jiu-jitsu and get-up game to stay safe on the bottom and to give her the ability to return to striking range.
Shevchenko didn't land a lot of damage with her offensive control time or show that she can maintain a grappling-heavy gameplan for extended stretches either; she started breathing heavily after Grasso recovered her feet in the second round, and her shots became much more telegraphed – and less effective – after that point. The cardio advantage could prove crucial for the younger champion.
Additionally, Shevchenko needed Grasso to overcommit to strikes to hit those reactive takedowns to get on top of her. When Shevchenko tried to initiate clinch grappling – by attempting a judo throw at the end of the first round – Grasso ended up on her back as the round expired.
Grasso got to Shevchenko's back at the five-minute mark just as quickly as she did in the fourth-round finishing sequence – after Shevchenko whiffed on a spinning attack. And if that exchange happened earlier in the round, perhaps Grasso would have scored a first-round submission instead.
Shevchenko has shown a vulnerability to back-takes against her past two opponents, and I expect Grasso to find ways to regain that dominant position. Shevchenko must avoid using those judo throws and spinning techniques while Grasso will focus on boxing so that Shevehnko can't turn a caught kick into a takedown attempt.
Both flyweights have a noticeable hole in one area of their defensive grappling, but unless one fighter exploits that particular weakness, this matchup is relatively close and competitive everywhere else.
To justify her favoritism, Shevchenko needs to wrestle and rack up control time proactively; otherwise, the margins and optics in any striking-based round should be close to a coinflip with Grasso gaining favor from a partisan crowd.
Grasso vs. Shevchenko Pick
I projected Valentina Shevchenko as a 62.6% favorite (-167 implied odds) in this matchup, and I don't see value concerning either side of the moneyline.
I expect the bout to reach a decision 60% of the time (-150 implied odds) and would bet the fight to reach a decision (-125 at BetRivers) or the "over 4.5 rounds."
In the first matchup, I bet over 3.5 rounds at +100; the fight was -160 to end inside the distance (61.5%) compared to +110 (47.6% implied) for the rematch. My projection for that prop has moved from 51% to 40% since the first bout.
While both fighters landed clean head strikes in the first matchup, the tempo was a moderate to low-paced kickboxing bout. And on average, UFC women's flyweight fights reach a decision more than 60% of the time.
A submission (for either fighter) or an attritional-based stoppage for Grasso – against a tiring Shevchenko – seems the likelier possibility for a finish as opposed to a standing knockout or crucifix positional TKO, which was the assumption before the first fight.
I also see slight actionable value concerning Grasso's decision prop (projected +346, listed +370 at FanDuel), which I would consider poking small or including as the final leg of a round-robin.
The Pick: Fight goes to decision (-125, 0.5u at BetRivers) | Alexa Grasso wins by decision (+370, 0.1u at FanDuel)